The incredible story of a forgotten Irish queer pirate's romance has been turned into an audiobook

Irish woman Anne Bonny and Mary Read are two female pirates that navigated the treacherous Caribbean seas while also navigating a true queer pirate romance.

two true female queer pirates holding swords with a ship in the background
Image: Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

When we think of pirates we think of wooden legs, parrots, and eye patches. We don’t think of two badass women in command of their ship navigating the waters whilst also navigating a turbulent queer love for each other. Irish woman Anne Bonny and Mary Read were two female pirates that captained their own ship navigating the Caribbean islands. Their love story is a true queer pirate romance.

Both women were born into working-class backgrounds and defied the roles that society presupposed on them. This defiance leads them to a life of piracy and ultimately to each other. Their love for one another has its ups and downs but no matter what was thrown their way they always managed to be there for each other.

The two women defied gender norms that were set out within society dressing as men in order to right the wrongs that had been done to them. Read describes herself as neither man nor woman: “I am just me.” Their relationship highlights the important issue of gender expression and what it means to be yourself.

Their love was non-compliant at the time and they didn’t care what others thought when it comes to how they felt about each other and would harm anyone that dared cross them. The audio series tells the story of Bonny and Read; the two female queer pirates who broke gender norms through love and self-expression. Bonny and Read were a power couple of the sea fighting anything or anyone that is thrown their way.

Bonny and Read navigate choppy seas whilst also navigating difficult moments within their lives. Their story helps to shine a light on queer history as a whole. It also highlights how queer history has been forgotten throughout the years.  Their story is a forgotten one just like lesbian icon Chavela Vargas.

Audible has created an audiobook series detailing the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Hell Cats can be found exclusively on Audible. This really is a true queer pirate romance.

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